Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Saturday, December 17, 2011

God With Us

God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them. ~ Isaac, a Mennonite Pastor

You will have to excuse me if I have posted this song, God With Us, by Todd Agnew before.  It is one of my favorites, so I watch for videos that use its lyrics.  Plus, many artists have used scenes from The Nativity so I get confused on what I have shared where. : )

God with us, Immanuel.

During recent weeks I have journaled my thoughts, my questions, my insights around this truth of Christmas.  God came to reside WITH us.  Immanuel.  Still, it is difficult to discover God within the pain, the despair, the suffering of life.  Of both my life, lives within the communities nearby, and lives of those I only see from a distance on TV.

A wordle expresses this Biblical truth, God With Us.

So, as a pastor, as a seeker....I hold both.  The despair and the pain along with the truth as found in scripture, Immanuel, God with us.

In his Advent sermon, Pastor Isaac uses two edgy quotes of a monk by the name of Sebastian Moore that give me thoughts to consider as I struggle with the tension of what I see and the truth I read.
Christ is present to us insofar as we are present to one another. It’s a call to receive God’s love from one another, and to be present, to make Christ’s love available—to wait, and watch, and hope that Christ will come in and through us.
The second challenge of Moore's:

...look forward to the point when the whole mystery of God will be known in the clasp of your brother [or sister’s] hand. But when we feel those hands, as we pass the peace, we must also remember that the One we worship has holes in his hands. Yes, Christ has come to us, but he is also standing with holes in his hands, awaiting our discovery.
(sigh...) Discovering Immanuel, God with Me, in the messiness, the pain, the discomfort of life.

I am certain I have journaled (verses just "thinking" it) that I believe we, the Church, tend to sugar coat, to romanticize, the Christmas story. My prayer has been that during this season of waiting, Advent, I might look deeper into this familiar story with all its familiar characters and discover Immanuel in a new way.

Many Blessings ~ Sandi 


  1. Thank you for your comments. I haven't had time to read blogs this week much...I love to ponder over I haven't read many this week...but you are such and inspiration! I will be praying for you this coming week!

  2. I love Isaac's quote. While reading this post I was reminded of a movie I recently watched, that has become my favorite movie. I believe it may be one of the best every produced. Tree of Life. It's amazing, and I want to watch it again and again. I recommend it. If you do watch it, I hope you'll share your thoughts about it. It has many layers, and is essentially about the three characters' (the mother, the father, and a brother)relationship with God. Throughout their lives, but especially during a time of great crisis and sorrow. Happy day to you Sandi. and thanks for another uplifting post about the mystery and wealth of God's grace.

  3. Finding a deeper meaning to this holiday is something we can all learn from. Happy Holidays Sandi. :)

  4. I think we do the people in our pews a disservice when we sugar coat Christmas. True some people have lovely lices, but many people struggle in all kinds of ways, and if we fail to bring the struggle of life into the incarnation, then we fail those who come looking for meaning in their lives,

  5. Haven't heard from you in awhile... hope all is well and that 2012 has started filled with wonder and grace... blessings ~ tanna

  6. just thinking of you this morning and wondering where you have been? your readers are missing you! prayers for you on this morning. blessings. Pam


    Why does Satan want you to stay away from the the watery grave of baptism?

    1. Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

    Lucifer wants you dry so you cannot be saved.

    2. Acts 8:39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing.

    Beelzebub wants you dry to prevent you from rejoicing.

    3. Acts 22:16 Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.

    The Devil wants you dry so your sins will not be washed away.

    4. Galatians 3:27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

    The prince of darkness wants you dry so you will not be clothed with Christ.

    5. Acts 2:41,47 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 47 ...And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

    Satan wants you dry because he does not want you saved and subsequently added to the Lord's church.

    6. Romans 6:4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

    The prince of devils wants you dry to keep you from walking in a new life with Christ.

    7. Romans 6:6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;

    Lucifer wants you dry so you will remain a slave to sin.

    8. Romans 6:11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

    Beelzebub wants you dry so you cannot be alive to God in Christ Jesus.

    9. 1 Peter 3:21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you---not the removal of dirt from the flesh , but an appeal to God for a good conscience---through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    The prince of the devils wants you dry because he does not want you to be saved.

    10. Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    Lucifer wants you dry because he does not want you to have your sins forgiven nor does he want you to receive indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit.

    11. Colossians 2:12-13 ..buried with Him in baptism...13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions.

    Beelzebub wants you dry because he does not want your transgressions forgiven.

    12. Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have dine in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by thewashing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,

    The Devil want you dry so will remain unsaved.

    13. John 3:5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

    The prince of darkness wants you dry in order to keep you from entering the kingdom of God.

    14. Ephesians 5:25-27 ...Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her , having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory , having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.

    Satan wants you dry because he does not want you sanctified, cleansed, nor holy and blameless.

    15. Revelation 20:15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

    Lucifer wants you dry because he does not want your name written in the Lamb's book of life.He want you to be thrown into the lake of fire.